Missoula Veteran Dedicates Life to Vet Rights - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Veteran Dedicates Life to Vet Rights

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA -

The Fourth of July is a holiday when we as Americans celebrate our independence and remember what it took for our country to gain the rights and freedoms we value.

Throughout July, ABC FOX MONTANA will share the stories of hometown heroes, who go above and beyond to make a difference in their communities.

Dan Gallagher left his family's farm in Charlo at the age of 18 to join the Army as a combat engineer in the Vietnam War.

It was in the highlands of Vietnam where Gallagher saw the human destruction war can cause -- scenes he said he'll never forget.

"Kids with stumps… where a foot used to be, where they'd stepped on a mine," Gallagher said.

When he returned to the U.S., Gallagher said he and his fellow servicemen were greeted only with hostility from war protesters, who called the soldiers "baby killers."

He explained, "You cannot go and commit yourself to war and to the mindset that goes with fighting a war, come back to polite society and fit in, it just… you can't do it."

Gallagher said the return to civilian life took a toll on his mental health.

"I became withdrawn into myself, there was depression, there was all the problems that go with PTSD," he said.

With the help of a friend who was a prisoner of war in World War II, Gallagher slowly opened back up to society.

"All of a sudden you're talking about things you thought only you suffered from, and you realize others have the same issues," Gallagher said.

Gallagher has since dedicated his life to helping veterans receive the support and services they need to recover after war. Today, he said veterans young and old struggle to obtain the federal benefits they're promised by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and if they do, it can take years.

"And, I don't know if the American people are aware of that, if they are, they should be outraged," he said.

Gallagher works with American Legion Post 101 and other veterans groups to raise public awareness -- and inspire action -- to help veterans receive the support they deserve. He's also taken part in public service announcements, encouraging veterans to get the help they need if they're suffering from PTSD.

"If you can change, I guess just one life, or help one life, that's pretty damn good in it of itself," Gallagher said.

Gallagher's son, Colin, said, "A lot of people would consider it volunteer, but I think for him it's really about passion."

Gallagher's family members said his efforts become evident when community members approach Gallagher after he speaks at a Veterans' or Memorial Day event.

"More than anything, they want to tell him thank you for dealing with all the issues around it," Colin added.

Colin's younger son, Brian, said, "Walking in the mall, or downtown, people will come up and say thank you, and these are people I've never met and he may not even know."

"He just embraces the community, and he makes everyone feel welcome," said Kiley, one of Gallagher's granddaughters.

Gallagher said his work in Missoula is only a small part of what needs to be done across the country to ensure veterans receive their rights. But, he says he'll continue his efforts, no matter how small the reward.

Last year, Gallagher earned the Jeanette Rankin Peacemaker Award for his efforts to bridge the gap between veterans and peace activists in Missoula.

  • NationalMore>>

  • White House updating online privacy policy

    White House updating online privacy policy

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:51 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:51:48 GMT
    By MARTHA MENDOZA AP National Writer A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile...
    By MARTHA MENDOZA AP National Writer A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and...
  • Views differ of imam accused in US terrorism case

    Views differ of imam accused in US terrorism case

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:21 AM EDT2014-04-18 10:21:00 GMT
    A New York jury has heard two widely differing descriptions of an Egyptian imam accused of carrying out terrorism offenses while he led a London mosque.
    An Egyptian imam who led a London mosque more than a dozen years ago was portrayed in opening statements at his terrorism trial as an enthusiastic supporter of al-Qaida by a prosecutor and as a reasonable man who helped...
  • Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

    Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:01 AM EDT2014-04-18 10:01:29 GMT
    Relatives of the police officer authorities say was killed by the Boston bombing suspects are remembering him a year later.
    Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life - and then died doing it, becoming a central character in one of the most gripping manhunts the nation has...
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOK: Photos Of 'Blood Moon' During Total Lunar Eclipse

    LOOK: Photos Of 'Blood Moon' During Total Lunar Eclipse

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:59:30 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It was a sight to behold! The blood moon lit up the heavens last night. If you slept thru it, no need to worry! We recorded the whole thing for you and many of our Facebook friends and viewers have shared the photos that they captured of the total lunar eclipse last night!
    KHQ.COM - It was a sight to behold! The blood moon lit up the heavens last night. If you slept thru it, no need to worry! We recorded the whole thing for you and many of our Facebook friends and viewers have shared the photos that they captured of the total lunar eclipse last night!
  • Frontage Road Crash Victim Identified

    Frontage Road Crash Victim Identified

    Thursday, April 17 2014 1:37 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:37:02 GMT
    The Gallatin County coroner says 30-year-old Kari Friedman from Bozeman died in a crash at the intersection of Frontage and Valley Center Roads Wednesday. The Montana Highway Patrol said Friedman was turning
    The Gallatin County coroner says 30-year-old Kari Friedman from Bozeman died in a crash at the intersection of Frontage and Valley Center Roads Wednesday.
  • Witnesses Take Stand in Richland Teen's Murder Trial

    Witnesses Take Stand in Richland Teen's Murder Trial

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:33:56 GMT
    The first witnesses took the stand Wednesday in John Young's murder trial. Young is accused of killing 17-year-old Joshua Snapp in the desert near Horn Rapids last 4th of July.
    The first witnesses took the stand Wednesday in John Young's murder trial.
  • Former Griz Football Player Battles Cancer

    Former Griz Football Player Battles Cancer

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-08 23:00:04 GMT
    A former Griz football player prepares to take on different kind of physical challenge, after learning he has cancer. Former linebacker Cole Lockwood got his diagnosis just last week and is now recovering
    A former Griz football player prepares to take on different kind of physical challenge, after learning he has cancer.
  • SO GOOD: Montana Tech's Xavier Marsden

    SO GOOD: Montana Tech's Xavier Marsden

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:26:24 GMT
    Sophomore cornerback Xavier Marsden is from La Mirada California, right outside Los Angeles. The city boy says he loves being in Butte. "It's been good. Coming from a big city to a small town definitely
    Sophomore cornerback Xavier Marsden is from La Mirada California, right outside Los Angeles. The city boy says he loves being in Butte.
  • Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

    Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

    The Syrian government and rebel forces say poison gas has been used in a central village, injuring scores of people, while blaming each other for the attack.
    Both sides in Syria's bloody civil war said Saturday that a rural village fell victim to a poison gas attack, an assault that reportedly injured scores of people amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country...
  • Griz Lax Gaining Popularity

    Griz Lax Gaining Popularity

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:41:14 GMT
    The Montana Lacrosse team is preparing for their last three games of the regular season.  They're currently 6-6 and with all three games at home in Washington Grizzly Stadium, they're hoping the playoffs
    The Montana Lacrosse team is preparing for their last three games of the regular season.  They're currently 6-6 and with all three games at home in Washington Grizzly Stadium, they're hoping the playoffs are on the horizon.
  • Zags Sign Arvydas Sabonis' Son to NLI

    Zags Sign Arvydas Sabonis' Son to NLI

    Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Naismith Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Gonzaga University this fall, Bulldog head coach Mark Few said Thursday.
    Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Naismith Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Gonzaga University this fall, Bulldog head coach Mark Few said Thursday.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.